History of Metro in the shootout
May 13, 2020
MLS's recent reminiscence about the league's early days brought the long-forgotten shootout back into the forefront. From 1996 to 1999, tied games ended with a series of attempts, when a player was given a ball 35 yard from goal and five seconds to score. The winning team got one point, the losing nothing, meaning that tying but losing in the shootout was equivalent to losing a game. Shootouts sucked.
That being said, let's reminisce as well...
Metro's first win came in a shootout, the famous three-goal comeback against Tampa Bay on May 4, 1996. Peter Vermes took the first shootout attempt and missed. Ruben Dario Hernandez entered the record books by becoming the first Metro to score. Tab Ramos got the second and Metro won 2:1.
Metro's rivalry against DC Scum started in the shootout as well. Eight days after the Tampa game, Metro won the shootout 2:1, Rubencho and Nicola Caricola scoring.
Rubencho and Roy Myers were the only players with more than one attempt who converted all their chances: they went 2/2.
Ramos was the best Metro in the shootout, converting 7 out of 9 attempts. Miles Joseph also excelled, with 6/8. Savarese was 5/9. Mike Sorber took the most attempts, 10, converting on half. Matt Knowles, who never scored a regulation goal, was 3/4.
In 1996, after winning their first three shootouts, Metro lost the next two.
In the playoffs, a shootout win was equal to a regular win. Metro won the first playoff game in MLS playoff history in an epic 11-round shootout, 6:5. Vermes, the injured captain, famously asked referee Esse Baharmast, "Esse! If I shoot, we win?", and win they did.
Prior to scoring in the playoffs, Vermes was 0/3 in the shootout.
Metro opened the 1997 regular season with another 11-round shootout after a scoreless tie in San Jose. They lost 4:3.
Tony Meola scored in that shootout. He missed his other two attempts.
In 1997, Metro won two shootouts and lost two, including going scoreless in a 2:0 loss to Kansas City.
If the goalkeeper took down an attacker during the shootout, a penalty kick might be given. It happened three times for Metro: Roberto Donadoni went 1/2, and Braeden Cloutier missed his only attempt.
Donadoni's 2/6 total mark was among the worst in team history. Petter Villegas went 2/7, Vermes and Billy Walsh 1/4, Brian Kelly, Ramiro Corrales, and Mike Duhaney 1/5.
Players whose only Metro goal came in the shootout included Corrales, Cristian da Silva, John DeBrito, Rubencho, Knowles, Meola, and Kerry Zavagnin.
In 1998, Metro went unbeaten in the shootout in the regular season, winning all three. This included a perfect 4/4 in the season's ultimate game, a 4:2 win in New England after a scoreless draw. (The fifth attempt was not needed.) That win came in Bora Milutinovic's first game as Metro coach.
Metro's 1998 playoffs ended in a shootout loss to Columbus, 3:2 after a 1:1 tie. Mike Petke had the chance to tie it in the 5th frame, but couldn't. Metro was "swept" in the series, two games to none.
Of Metro's league-record low seven wins in 1999, three came in the shootout. Four of their league-record high 25 losses came in the tiebreaker.
Metro's last shootout came in DC. After a 1:1 draw, Metro lost 2:1. Kelly scored Metro's last ever shootout goal, his only tally after four failures. Mohammad Khakpour missed Metro's last ever shootout attempt.
Overall, Metro's shootout record was 12 wins, nine losses. Metro players converted 64 out of 136 attempts, for 47%.
The complete record of shootout success can be seen here.